Winemaker's grand design on the market

The award-winning home of Martinborough wine pioneer Neil McCallum and his wife Dawn is on the market.

Mr McCallum founded Dry River Wines in 1979, and until his retirement in October last year carved out a reputation for excellence in wines including pinot noir, pinot gris, gewurztraminer, and riesling.

His home has been recognised for its distinctive "barrel vaulting" design, and its ability to withstand a one in 650-year 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Designing and building the 371sq m building was a two-year labour of love for the McCallums, who drew their inspiration from the Moorish architecture of Spain and its distinctive style of domes, arches, courtyards, and decorative tile work.

In 2007 it received the New Zealand Award for Architecture, and the New Zealand Concrete Society Residential Award.

Architect Chris Kelly, who also designed the Greytown Town Centre, and builder Ron Allen designed the distinctive 12 two-tonne vaulted ceilings, each supported by four concrete columns.

Mr McCallum said the vaulted ceilings gave the property its distinctive look and created a feeling of calm - but were a challenge to install.

"Each of the 12 arches were created in a mould in Otaki and had to be transported to Martinborough.

"We had to survey all of the corners of the roads between Otaki and Martinborough to ensure it would be possible to transport the arches, as well as checking that all the bridges along the way would be capable of carrying the weight.

"We also had to bring in a 50-tonne crane especially from Wellington so the arches were able to be lifted into place."

After six years at the property, the McCallums now plan to downsize, allowing them more time to travel and for Mr McCallum to focus on his interest in buying and cutting coloured gems.

The property is being marketed by Bayleys Coast to Coast salesperson Di Martin, and offers are invited by November 28.

The house boasts four bedrooms and a study, a wine cellar and a solar-heated lap pool, on a 4ha lifestyle block.

Grounds include two ponds, two sheds, three 22,500 litre water tanks and a well.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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